My Top Ten for the Senate and my partylist vote

Published May 4, 2019, 12:44 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Tonyo Cruz
Tonyo Cruz

If elections were held today, I’m voting for the following senatorial candidates:

Neri Colmenares

Leody de Guzman

Sonny Matula

Samira Gutoc

Chel Diokno

Erin Tañada

Pilo Hilbay

Bam Aquino

Nancy Binay

Serge Osmeña

I’m proud of this list. Led by Colmenares and De Guzman, these men and women are principled, intelligent, and with both track records and commitment as independent-minded leaders. We need them in the Senate.

I don’t want to dwell on names that others may dislike. Whatever differences we have are puny compared to what unites us. And the most precious and most basic unity we have is to have an independent Senate and to have senators who represent the marginalized and the poor.

I have a special love for Colmenares. I know him personally. I have seen him in action as a legal eagle, civil libertarian, constitutionalist, and activist lawmaker. He is a good family man. His story is the stuff of legend: a survivor of martial law detention and torture, he went on to study the same law that was horribly applied against him. He would later make the law work for the people, craft laws the range from the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act to the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act, and fight valiantly with lawyers of several regimes in oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

As Miro Quimbo pointed out at a testimonial dinner a few days ago, Colmenares shines through as an outstanding and stellar leader through his humility. Sadly, this distaste for self-promotion has been taken advantage by some quarters to peddle disinformation against him.

But despite the anti-communist attacks and the meager resources, Colmenares is in a position today to leap-frog to the winning circle. He is the third most popular opposition candidate, according to national surveys. He is a top draw in colleges and universities, urban poor communities, and in forums and conferences.

Like Colmenares, De Guzman and Matula are also candidates of the Labor Win alliance. De Guzman and Colmenares are stalwarts of the Parliament of the Streets. Matula heads the Federation of Free Workers labor center.

Gutoc, Diokno, Tañada, Hilbay, and Aquino are the best of the slate they belong to. Best in terms of brilliance, commitment, and also in working with others who belong to other groups and traditions. That they accepted the Makabayan endorsement is proof of their open-mindedness, independence, and readiness to forge unity for common causes. Such traits are needed if we are to adequately combat and ultimately defeat the disciplined minions of the regime.

Binay defied expectations in her Senate stint. I have grown to admire her courage amid the unremitting personal attacks against her, especially her skin color and looks. She has made admirers out of many detractors. Osmeña, meanwhile, should be returned to the Senate to continue his great work as lawmaker. He is a strong champion of human rights and human dignity.

According to the latest surveys, many could only come up with eight to 10 names for their Senate lists. I’m not alone.

That means we can still change the final outcome.

Whether you are DDS, Dilawan, Pula, or an independent, I appeal to you to check out Colmenares and De Guzman. They are worthy of our consideration and our vote. We can disagree on many things but I’m confident that we would agree that the activists Colmenares and De Guzman would be the gamechangers in the Senate.

I hope to complete my list of 12 senators before Election Day. I’m open to your suggestions as well. Let’s exchange notes and compare lists. Let us discuss and debate.

I am casting my partylist vote for KABATAAN.

I would like KABATAAN not just to bring back Representative Sarah Elago, but to get the maximum three seats in Congress. There’s no stopping young voters who comprise the majority of the electorate from making this a reality and seeing three KABATAAN representatives take their oath when Congress convenes in July.

KABATAAN is committed to cement free education as a right, by putting a stop to the state’s and private school’s addiction to commercialization and tuition fee increases. It is also committed to working for full employment of young Filipinos, ready and eager to help in nation-building.

Compared to the other so-called youth partylist, KABATAAN is not subservient or beholden to any traditional politician. It is not a mouthpiece of the President. It is not peddling disinformation. Neither is it sowing intrigue against student organizations, leaders, and scholars whose intelligence has compelled them to stand up against tyranny. Just like other young people, it is often underestimated but would always surpass expectations.

KABATAAN proudly follows the tradition of great young Filipino heroes whose legacy has been to inspire everyone to think critically and to act militantly in the service of our people.

I proudly endorse KABATAAN to you, dear readers, especially first-time voters, young ones and the once-young.